IRHA gives students in residence halls a voice

Matt Kuhns

Editor’s Note: This article is the first of a four-part series on residence hall life.

Student government exists at so many levels throughout Iowa State’s residence halls that students might find it difficult to remember the specific responsibilities of each branch.

The Inter-Residence Hall Association, however, has one clear priority — to act as a liaison between students and residence hall administration.

Students can consider IRHA “their voice to the university administration,” said IRHA President Ben Chamberlain.

IRHA consists of a seven-member executive council, as well as the president, treasurer, one at-large representative from each residence association and one representative from each hall area.

Most houses also elect an IRHA representative to act as a direct contact with the IRHA parliament.

IRHA Vice President Kim Hannum agrees with Chamberlain, saying that IRHA’s most important goal is making sure students have representation in residence hall decisions.

Chamberlain said IRHA has been involved in many of the changes taking place in the residence halls since Randy Alexander, director of the Department of Residence, arrived. Some of those changes include renovations in Maple Hall and Hawthorn Court.

While representing students in the residence hall system is IRHA’s primary purpose, it is not its only function.

IRHA also sponsors fund-raising activities which, along with dues of $3 per resident a semester, provide funding for a variety of groups and activities.

Programs funded all or in part by IRHA include Free Friday Flicks and KURE, as well as student trips to leadership conferences and residence hall tours for incoming students.

Chamberlain said he hopes next year to do more with other campus organizations, particularly ones that have not collaborated with IRHA.

Chamberlain said IRHA also will be evaluating the future of student government in the residence halls, and it will be considering changes to keep student government relevant.

Also on IRHA’s list of goals for this year, is to get more students from the residence halls involved in activities traditionally dominated by the greek system.

Hannum said everyone talks about getting more involvement from the residence halls, but that IRHA will be making “a really big push this year.”